Our work to bring internet access to in-patients within our forensic services has been included as a video case study in NHS Digital’s new digital inclusion guide for health and social care.
Digital inclusion means people being able to use computers and the internet, having access to the internet and benefiting from services designed to meet all users’ needs. It can support health and social care priorities, The new digital inclusion guide is for commissioners and designers of digital health technologies. It will help them to take practical steps to ensure all services and products are inclusive and accessible to all.
Supporting people to get online and use digital health resources can be crucial to achieving local priorities including physical and mental wellbeing, prevention, avoiding deterioration of existing health conditions, self care, long term condition management, appropriate use of urgent and emergency care, shared care and shared decision making.
In a series of videos produced by NHS Digital, healthcare leaders talk about the importance of digital to local service transformation, and why digital inclusion is important so that nobody is left behind. We are featured as a case study about improving access:
Our project has involved making the internet available to service users in our forensic settings, balancing their needs against ensuring safe and protected browsing.
Internet access mean service users can return home quicker as they’re able to bid on council houses online. This avoids unnecessary delays in discharge. It’s also reduced staff time spent carrying out tasks for service users which, with support they can now do independently.
One service user explained that access to Facebook has helped him stay in touch with his family and community. Another is feeling less isolated since he can now contact family abroad and speak his native language. A service user with learning difficulties said seeing pictures of his sister’s baby helped him feel part of the family. One service user in a medium secure setting has accessed an online education package to aid his recovery and improve literacy.
The setup allows for the Wi-Fi to be expanded, so that other devices can be connected such as service user’s own consoles, tablets etc. Public NHS Wi-Fi on-site also allows further less restrictive access and is carefully managed for service users.